The ACR strategic plan includes the specific objective to engage in imaging clinical research that will continue to advance the practice of radiology. The College’s investment in science and research is intended to facilitate innovation — including opportunities that invest back into the membership with grants that fund research to help the ACR achieve its objective.
This fall, ACR members will have two opportunities to apply for research grants through two research centers at the College: the Harvey L. Neiman Health Policy Institute® (NHPI) and the ACR Center for Research and Innovation™ (CRI). The Bulletin spoke with Christine R. Davis, senior director of clinical research administration at the CRI, and Elizabeth Y. Rula, PhD, executive director of the NHPI, to discuss how the upcoming funding opportunities will facilitate future practice innovations through research and education for the benefit of patient outcomes, patient experience, and population health.
Why is it important for CRI to have a grants program?
CD: It is important for the College to invest back into ACR members to engage them in advancing the ACR mission. It is evident that there are research initiatives important to the ACR that, with seed-funding investments from the College, may mature into externally funded projects of importance to the field of radiology and the ACR. To offer such investments in radiology research, the ACR has developed the ACR Fund for Collaborative Research in Imaging (FCRI). The use of these funds is guided by a research selection committee, comprised of ACR members, to ensure that funded projects contribute to the mission of the College. Successful proposed projects require collaboration with ACR and overall project sustainability. Applicants must be current, in-good-standing members of the ACR. Individuals or groups may submit proposals, and applications must have support from the chair of an ACR Research Committee.
What kinds of research will the FCRI program fund?
CD: The FCRI Grant Program is designed for unique, one-time investments in the most compelling and innovative research ideas that ultimately lead to advancement of the practice of radiology. Projects are typically pilot or seed grant-type ventures that test a new idea or help support a new area or direction of clinical research in radiology. The grants generally address a specific hypothesis and generate preliminary data that could be used to justify or strengthen subsequent comprehensive applications to national peer-reviewed funding agencies.
Why is this research objective important for ACR members?
CD: The ACR has committed to engage in imaging clinical research that will continue to advance the practice of radiology. The ACR value chain is comprised of staff, systems, and projects covering primary research through monitoring systems like Q&S registries, and those monitoring systems can generate new hypotheses or questions to answer that go back to primary research. The FCRI investment is kicking off primary research ideas that have potential for future expansion into other ACR programs.
As radiology touches nearly all patient care, the FCRI Grant Program can empower ACR member researchers to move medicine forward. We are proud to offer this funding at a critical time for radiology and the patients we serve.
Why it is important for NHPI to have a grants program?
ER: The NHPI was established nearly 10 years ago to fill a need for peer-reviewed research and data to inform the health policy debate to improve the quality and value of health care. Despite the lack of data, grant opportunities are sparse — particularly if the research is perceived to have the potential to advance the economic interests of a certain group, such as radiologists.
Today, the NHPI publishes over 30 peer-reviewed studies a year primarily through our academic research centers at Emory University, Georgia Tech, and Northwell Health, that provide a foundation for evidence-based advocacy. Even with this robust portfolio, we can have the greatest impact if we involve additional researchers in the work that will help us achieve our mission. Furthermore, offering grants allows us to tap into outside expertise and data to answer research questions that we otherwise couldn’t answer. The NHPI grants program is intended to address these needs, increase the cadre of researchers in radiology health policy, and further expand our focus to new and emerging topics.
What kinds of research will the NHPI grants program fund?
ER: The NHPI grants program is intended to facilitate novel, empirical research that contributes directly to the NHPI mission. We want to publish evidence that promotes the effective and efficient use of healthcare resources and to improve patient care via health policy and radiology practice. Other important funding criteria include pertinence to current policy priorities and the potential for impact, plus a robust design using methods, population, or data that extend what the NHPI can accomplish. NHPI grants will further our work to create an evidence base that will pave the way for advances in radiological practice that improve patient outcomes, reduce health disparities, inform the appropriate use of that care, and demonstrate value to support adequate reimbursement needed to ensure patients have access to a high level of care from trained radiologists.
What else can you tell us about the upcoming funding opportunities?
ER: The NHPI grants program is launching in October with the release of our first request for applications. By the summer of 2022, we intend to issue two more requests for applications. In parallel, the ACR Foundation will be fundraising to support these additional grants. Grant objectives will be key issues for health policy and reimbursement, such as AI and other emerging technology, radiology value in the context of emerging payment and population health models, and practice advancements that improve equity, efficiency, or outcomes. We will also introduce a NHPI fellowship in partnership with our research center at Northwell Health. This fellowship will provide training in clinical effectiveness research for radiology residents to contribute to research in this field throughout their careers.
How to Apply to FCRI
The FCRI Grant Program is designed for unique, one-time investments in the most compelling and innovative research ideas that ultimately lead to advancement of the practice of radiology. Projects are typically pilot or seed grant-type ventures that test a new idea or help support a new direction of clinical research in radiology. These grants generally address a specific hypothesis and generate preliminary data that could be used to justify or strengthen subsequent comprehensive applications to national peer-reviewed funding agencies. Successful proposed projects require collaboration with the ACR and overall project sustainability.
Applicants must be current ACR members in good standing. Individuals or groups may submit proposals, and applications must have support from the chair of an ACR Research Committee. The ACR will announce a request for applications to the FCRI Grant Program this fall, along with communications containing application requirements and timelines. For more information, contact ACR staff at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Harvey L. Neiman Health Policy Institute® (NHPI) studies the value and role of radiology in evolving healthcare delivery and payment systems, including quality-based approaches to care and the impact of medical imaging on overall healthcare costs. NHPI research provides a foundation for evidence-based imaging policy to improve patient care and bolster efficient, effective use of healthcare resources. Learn more at neimanhpi.org.
The NHPI grants will be supported in part by the ACR Foundation. Donating to the ACRF is another way that members can participate in advancing health policy research. Donate here >>